Workflow automation is the most popular modern approach to business improvement. The dependency on the IT department increases with the increasing need to digitize business workflows. However, code-driven automation increases the dependency on the IT department. This is where low code automation steps in by emphasizing more visual elements for building automation programs.
What is low code automation?
Why use low code workflow automation?
What are the advantages of using low-code automation platforms?
Read on to find answers to these questions and also the top low-code automation solutions that are expected to rule the roost in the automation market.
What is Low-code Automation?
Today, users submit a request to the IT department to change a report, launch a product, create an automation workflow, and wait for the results to come back. More often than not this is a lengthy process with no feedback loop.
Low code automation was born out of the need to bridge the gap between key employee groups – one group that writes code and the other that writes emails. With low code automation solutions, any user can create an application.
Low code automation tools are software programs that require no or very little coding expertise to create enterprise-grade high-fidelity applications. To put it simply, a low code automation platform can bring far more people without much technical expertise to the driver’s seat.
First-generation low-code tools were developed in the late 90s and early 2000s by companies like Outsystems and Appian. Low code workflow automation is focused on making it easier and quicker to develop applications with visual drag-and-drop interfaces and integrations.
“With low-code, innovative apps can be delivered 10 times faster and organizations can turn on a dime, adapting their systems at the speed of business” – says Paulo Rosado, the CEO at Outsystems.”
The main use cases of low-code systems include:
These apps help improve a company’s core functions like HR, sales and marketing, and financial reporting.
Customer-facing apps – the solutions can be sophisticated with rich user experiences, security, and mobile capabilities.
Legacy app replacement
Low code tools can upgrade old code systems for modern approaches.
Low code technology empowers business users and developers to build, automate, deploy, and modify applications, processes, and workflows, with little or no coding knowledge. A low code automation solution helps in digitizing business-critical operations within minutes, which allows employees to focus on other high-priority tasks.
In order to develop low code automation solutions, basic coding knowledge would suffice. Unlike traditional code-based solutions, low code takes a visual approach to the development of workflows and processes. Pre-designed templates and user-friendly drag-and-drop interfaces are typical of low code automation solutions.
Users can reuse the components as per their requirements, thus shortening the development cycles. Low-code automation, low-code process automation, low-code business process automation, and low-code workflow automation are all interrelated terms.
Need for Low-code Automation
Low-code automation simplifies the automation of business processes by introducing visual elements into building automated workflows. Whether it is business users creating their own apps or simplifying the development process, low code development makes it easy to create flexible apps to accomplish specific tasks. There are several reasons why you should consider low code automation for your business.
1. Improved agility
Low code automation creates app capabilities required by users for smooth functioning across multiple devices.
2. Quick time to market
Low code automation tools are simple and easy to use. The main objective of low code automation is to reduce the development cycle so that the time to market is shortened.
3. Decreased costs
Low code automation enables businesses to build more apps in less time, which in turn decreases development costs. Low code automation also reduces the need for more developers, which in turn reduces hiring costs.
4. Seamless integration
Low-code automation is used to augment and improve current infrastructure. The software can be used to seamlessly integrate with other products and platforms.
5. Higher productivity
Low code development allows more apps to be built in less time, what once took months now takes days or even minutes. This improves the overall productivity of the business and paves the way for innovation.
6. Better customer experience
Low code development helps organizations to quickly adapt to market changes or customer expectations. Increases speed in development in turn results in a better customer experience.
7. Effective risk management
Organizations need to keep up with ever-changing regulatory requirements. Low code development enables fast change so that regulatory requirements can be met by the organization.
8. Faster transformation
Digital transformation is imperative in today’s competitive market landscape. Low code development eliminates the complexity of building great, modern business apps. With low code development, organizations are equipped to quickly adapt and respond to fast-changing business conditions.
9. Control and visibility
Using low-code platforms to build solutions eliminates shadow IT and ensures that all operations comply with internal and external regulations. The visibility across processes is greatly improved by using low code automation tools.
10. Reuse of elements
Processes may vary in every department, but there could be similar or identical roles or activities within the process. Low code automation tools enable the reuse of elements that are common across departments.
11. Reduces IT workload
Low code tools decrease development time and technical debt, which in turn reduces IT backlog and gives developers more time to innovate.
12. Pre-built workflows
Low-code workflows provide pre-built workflow templates so that businesses need not start from scratch to build workflows. Low-code platforms provide ready-to-use platforms that enable faster implementation and return on investment.
Low-code platforms must facilitate long-term business growth. The automation platform must accommodate increasing demands as the business grows.
The commercial world is changing as a result of low code. Low code dramatically reduces the time required to design an application. Organizations looking to stay competitive must take to low code workflow automation to improve business outcomes.
Low-code versus No-code Automation
Low code and no code automation are terms that are used interchangeably but have subtle differences in their semantics and user perspective. Organizations need to understand these differences to make informed decisions and choose the right solution for their business. Many workflow automation tool vendors tag their solutions as either no code or low code solutions.
But what do both these terms mean?
What is the difference between the two?
Which one of these is right for your business?
The below table clearly lists the difference between low code and no code automation tools.
|Low Code platforms
|No code platforms
|Low-code platforms are development tools that require very little coding to develop software applications
|No code platforms are development tools that require no coding to develop software applications
|Low code platforms use pre-defined templates and visual drag-and-drop interfaces to create applications
|The design of no-code platforms emphasizes the fact that team members do not need any coding expertise
|Basic programming expertise is enough to develop low-code solutions. Users can get under the hood and hard-code certain parts that they see fit
|No code platforms do not use any specific programming language
|Low code may not require coding experience from business users but coding support from the IT team is required
|Business team members do not need coding expertise to work on no-code platforms
|Drag-and-drop interfaces enable a high level of customization
|Customization options are limited
|Low code platforms allow non-technical users to automate processes up to a certain point
|No code platforms give absolute freedom to the user as they need not have any technical knowledge
|The dependence on coding is more when compared to no-code platforms
|These platforms allow non-technical users to automate the process through simple drag-and-drop manipulation
|Ideal for creating complicated apps that are vital for an organization’s core systems
|Suitable for creating tactical and straightforward apps
Low code automation tools have risen in popularity mainly because of the shortage of developers, an emphasis on hyper-automation, and a desire to empower businesses and end users. The basis of low-code solutions is a drag-and-drop method that simplifies program building. For example, computer programs are often written in code built from the ground by IT professionals, with rules and actions manually specified.
Traditional development has certain advantages, such as complete control and customization. However, creating and deploying programs requires highly experienced individuals that are limited in supply. In the case of low-code platforms, the application is the process where visual models and drag-and-drop features are used. Low code automation is straightforward to use and understand.
The graphical user interface in low-code platforms has several advantages over command-line interfaces used by traditional coding platforms. Users can use low-code platforms to create, test, and deploy more impactful and valuable products.
Choosing the Right Low Code Automation Tool
Low code automation platforms enable organizations to build enterprise-grade apps within weeks as opposed to months with traditional coding platforms. Low code solutions decrease development time and technical dependence on IT teams. How to choose the right low-code automation platform for your business?
Here are some must-have features that low code tools must have:
1. Drag-and-drop Interfaces
A simple and intuitive visual drag-and-drop interface helps developers create applications quickly with visual tools. The visual tools result in a faster time to launch.
2. Vendor track record
While choosing the low code solution it is important to focus on the company’s track record and commitment to the market.
3. Understanding the feature sets
Low-code platforms usually cover specific areas of business. The tool must be chosen based on the specific area of the business that matches the feature set offered by the tool.
4. Ease of use
Not just the user interface, but the resources provided by the vendor like customer support must be easy to access and use.
5. Instant mobility
Build at one place, but deploying it anywhere must be the focus of the low code automation tool. Low code development should happen behind the scenes automatically with no extra effort, coding, or resources.
6. Security and scalability
Today’s low-code solutions must be enterprise-grade with all the necessary security certifications in place and proven experience with large-scale initiatives.
7. Team collaboration
Low code platforms must allow granular sharing of permissions across work teams.
The low code platform must allow you to connect seamlessly with other work apps that are used in the organization.
The low code automation solutions must accommodate the future demands of the business as it scales up.
End-to-end workflow automation
Build fully-customizable, no code process workflows in a jiffy.
Benefits of Using Low Code Automation Platforms
Whether it is business users creating a low-code app or simplifying the development process for coders by automating the process, low-code development simplifies the creation of flexible apps for accomplishing specific tasks.
Here are some of the benefits that a business derives by implementing low-code solutions:
1. Improved agility
Low code platforms improve the agility of business processes. The low code tool empowers developers with the ability to customize code according to the requirements of the process. Business agility refers to the company’s ability to adapt and respond to market changes by adopting digital solutions. Low code enables businesses to adjust quickly to market swings and evolving customer expectations.
2. Decreased costs
Low code tools bring down the time required to develop the app. The lesser time spent on app development, the lesser the will be associated costs. The need for developers is also reduced by adopting low code development, which in turn reduces hiring costs.
3. Increased productivity
The right low-code platform improves the productivity of the team by reducing the time for development. When development time reduces, the team can focus on other productive activities. Low code development allows more apps to be built in less time. Moreover, low-code development is no longer a barrier to real innovation.
4. Improves customer experience
Low code development enables faster time to market by reducing the development cycle. The downstream effects of increased speed enable a better customer experience. Low code development also empowers organizations to quickly adapt to market changes.
5. Integrate legacy systems
Legacy systems can lead to exorbitant costs and expand the technical debt of the IT teams. The right low code automation system can integrate with legacy systems easily.
6. Mitigates shadow IT
The use of low-code platforms impedes shadow IT, which is the practice of illegal business users developing apps for use in their everyday jobs without the IT department knowing about it. Business users may use low code development to adhere to standard practices and avoid common errors when developing critical apps.
7. Drive digital transformation at scale
Most organizations aim at transforming their operations through automation or digitization. Low-code tools enable you to create and deploy apps quickly.
Challenges in Adopting Low Code Automation
Low code automation is fast becoming the preferred app development platform in many organizations. Although low code automation is an evolution of BPM, there is some hesitation among organizations to adopt this new system. Low code automation solutions provide several advantages over traditional coding systems. However, there are a few challenges in adopting low-code systems.
1. Security and Compliance
IT teams need complete visibility and control of process workflows so that they can enforce security, compliance, and internal requirements. The overall process architecture needs to be completely understood by the IT department to devise solutions to problems within the organization. Low code solutions must provide an IT-approved toolkit that the organization can use to mitigate the risk of shadow IT.
2. Learning curve
Every new technology or tool that is added to the existing tech stack will require a learning curve. The time required to embrace a new technology depends on its complexity. Complex low-code technology entails a longer learning curve.
The addition of low-code technology to the tech stack may chill the enthusiasm for any new tool.
4. Perceived impact on jobs
The main focus of low-code automation is to make the reallocation of resources possible and direct them to more important tasks. Some employees may see this as a threat to their jobs.
5. Too big and specialized development teams
Since low-code platforms require everyone on the team to develop features, each one on the team must have specialized skills.
6. Superficial approach to problem-solving
Traditional development team approaches rely on business analysts who translate business requirements into technical requirements. Low code on the other hand does not dwell deep into the problem as these two domains are siloed from each other. Low-code teams are made up of developers who are experts in writing code but do not have a complete picture of the issue.
7. The measure of success only at go-live
For successful deployment of low code, the focus on end users must be present throughout the development cycle. When low code systems do not provide clarity to the stakeholders on the user requirements, deployment cannot be successful.
8. Slow and scarce feedback
Business users are on one side and developers building applications are on the other side. Low code systems must build a bridge between the two sides, failing which feedback between the two sides is interrupted or slackened.
Top Low-Code Automation Software for 2023
Low code automation platforms help build applications quickly and economically. They promote digital transformation by enabling organizations to leverage the latest technologies and deliver better customer experiences. Read on to know more about the top low-code automation platforms to consider for 2023.
#1 Cflow – Easy and intuitive low code (no code) workflow software
Transform and streamline business processes with cloud BPM workflow automation software. Cflow is an all-in-one workflow software that can automate core business processes within minutes. Built on powerful BPM methodologies, Cflow helps create efficiencies at scale as your business grows with streamlined workflow management.
#2 Appian – Low-code development platform with pre-built components and templates
Appian provides a revolutionary development platform that will help your organization build smarter applications.
#3 Mendix – Low code platform with ready-to-use components
Mendix provides an intuitive drag-and-drop platform for building applications, as well as a wide range of ready-to-use components. It is a great option for all deployment types with private cloud, public cloud, and on-premise options.
#4 Outsystems – A low-code Android application development platform
OutSystems is a low-code Android application development platform that helps build custom applications quickly and effectively. This software allows you to react quickly to your evolving needs and develop apps that help businesses innovate.
#5 Pega – Visual modeling-based platform
Pega is an easy-to-use tool that provides features to create apps without any programming. It is purely based on visual modeling.
As per a Globenewswire report, the global low code development market which was worth 16.3 billion USD in 2021 is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27.8% to reach 148.5 billion USD by 2030. Low code automation is likely to become a standard across several that are striving to stay competitive in the market. Low code automation provides a real and proven way for organizations to develop new digital solutions much faster and leapfrog their competitors.
Low-code workflow automation is made simple and easy with no-code BPM platforms like Cflow. Cflow lets you accelerate day-to-day process workflows, save working hours, and focus on the productivity and growth of the business. Pre-installed workflow apps in Cflow automate repetitive tasks like invoice approval, purchase requests, vacation requests, etc. Want to know more about Cflow? Sign up for the free trial right away,
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